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Author Topic: The Protestant Understanding of the History of Christianity and the Church  (Read 4470 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 09, 2012, 01:21:33 PM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 01:36:02 PM »

It really depends on which Protestant you ask.

Some, usually the older strings, will give you a history of the Church that will more or less agree with the RC or Orthodox history, but will also add in about hos the Church began turning away due to whatever influence (worldly power, heresy, etc.). Usually you'll see the turning point in the Reformation.

The American Evangelicals (especially the hyper-dispensationalists) will pretty much have a comparible history until about the beginning of the 2nd century. Then you see inserts about this-or-that apostacy being blamed on Polycarp, the Roman Church, Constantine, etc. Then you get all kinds of theories.

PP
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 02:27:36 PM »

It really depends on which Protestant you ask.

Some, usually the older strings, will give you a history of the Church that will more or less agree with the RC or Orthodox history, but will also add in about hos the Church began turning away due to whatever influence (worldly power, heresy, etc.). Usually you'll see the turning point in the Reformation.

The American Evangelicals (especially the hyper-dispensationalists) will pretty much have a comparible history until about the beginning of the 2nd century. Then you see inserts about this-or-that apostacy being blamed on Polycarp, the Roman Church, Constantine, etc. Then you get all kinds of theories.

PP

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2012, 02:34:44 PM »

It really depends on which Protestant you ask.

Some, usually the older strings, will give you a history of the Church that will more or less agree with the RC or Orthodox history, but will also add in about hos the Church began turning away due to whatever influence (worldly power, heresy, etc.). Usually you'll see the turning point in the Reformation.

The American Evangelicals (especially the hyper-dispensationalists) will pretty much have a comparible history until about the beginning of the 2nd century. Then you see inserts about this-or-that apostacy being blamed on Polycarp, the Roman Church, Constantine, etc. Then you get all kinds of theories.

PP

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?

Yes, that's what my question is more about.

If things derailed so quickly before the cannon was set, what is the Protestant response to that given the circumstances? Also, who are the writers/theologians before the Reformation that argued things were going down-hill in regards to all these doctrines creeping in. Basically, I'm asking for a trace back before the Reformation to their side of the argument.
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 03:26:06 PM »

If it is one of the more intelligent, traditional Protestants like a Lutheran, they will usually know an average amount about the early history of the Church and will usually hold no harsh feelings until the Reformation period where they will then state issues they had trouble accepting in the Church. On the other hand, the typical mainline Protestant/American Evangelical really does not honestly know anything about the history. And I know this for a fact because I used to go to school at one of their Private Schools. None of them knew where the Bible came from and many of them, some Pastors included, even thought that the entire Bible existed since the time of the Apostles and believed that the New Testament Church functioned like a Protestant one in the first century, but then when you get to the second century they become clueless and develop all sorts of pseudo-theories and inconsistent claims about the Church becoming corrupted when they do not even know which Church they are talking about. In fact, most refer to it as the Roman Catholic Church because they are either clueless about the schism or do not even know what the Eastern Orthodox Church is.

Sola-Scriptura is fallacious in several ways. The first being the fact that it is unsupported by scripture because you have 2 Thessalonians 2:15, the epilogue of St. John's gospel and that passage in Corinthians (Anyone care to cite it for me?). I've heard some Protestants claim that these traditions were already included into the Bible by the time it was put together, however, that is an inconsistent claim because if they did that, then why didn't they erase those old passages that said to hold onto oral traditions? Or at least leave some indicator saying 'Hey guys, forget about what we said earlier, we already included it in here' or something. Likewise, the New Testament is not a collection of teachings and doctrine; it is made up of epistles directly addressing only certain issues in particular. Then you have the fact that the Bible did not even exist until the middle of the fourth century, arguably sometime around the first or second Ecumenical Council. Which, is rather funny; Protestants believe the Church fell into error yet they still believe they made the right choice in putting the Bible together and developing the Doctrine of the Trinity. So this raises the question of what did the Church do for the first three hundred years before they had the Bible, or the fourteen hundred years before they even had the printing press to make it widespread? They relied on the oral teachings of the Apostles passed down through their Bishops. Moving further, if the Bible was meant to be interpreted individually by each person in the way that Protestants do with no guidance, then why did Jesus say that His will was for us to be one united just like Him and His Father? Because, the Protestants have all interpreted it individually and there are thousands of denominations of them developing each day because they cannot agree on it or have any guidance. Whereas, the Orthodox Church throughout her history has always been able to put heresies to rest and solve doctrinal questions for the most part.

Also, who are the writers/theologians before the Reformation that argued things were going down-hill in regards to all these doctrines creeping in. Basically, I'm asking for a trace back before the Reformation to their side of the argument.

Arius and the Oriental Orthodox theologians, however, most Protestants would not want to be associated with these people and these people rejected the Orthodox Church for different reasons than Protestants.
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 03:27:20 PM »

It really depends on which Protestant you ask.

Some, usually the older strings, will give you a history of the Church that will more or less agree with the RC or Orthodox history, but will also add in about hos the Church began turning away due to whatever influence (worldly power, heresy, etc.). Usually you'll see the turning point in the Reformation.

The American Evangelicals (especially the hyper-dispensationalists) will pretty much have a comparible history until about the beginning of the 2nd century. Then you see inserts about this-or-that apostacy being blamed on Polycarp, the Roman Church, Constantine, etc. Then you get all kinds of theories.

PP

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?
Protestant: Yeah, but you see all of the texts that make up the Bible had already been written by 397. Plus, didn't the canon of 397 (or thereabouts) include things like Tobit and Sirach? The 397 canon came close to including only texts that were inspired, but it also mistakenly included texts that were not inspired. Not until Luther et al. do we get a truly inspired Bible.
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 03:37:15 PM »

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?

The typical Protestant explanation is that earlier generations of Christians didn't "set" the canon of scripture, but simply managed to "recognize" what was inspired regardless of whether or not those Christians interpreted that scripture correctly or were being obedient to it, at least for the NT.
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 03:57:00 PM »

The typical Protestant explanation is that earlier generations of Christians didn't "set" the canon of scripture, but simply managed to "recognize" what was inspired regardless of whether or not those Christians interpreted that scripture correctly or were being obedient to it, at least for the NT.

Which can be refuted in one of four ways. 1) You could argue that in order for them to have gotten the scripture right, they would have needed to have been able to get everything else right, and defend the Church. 2) You could argue that the Church did not get the scripture Canon right, but that would also contradict our teachings. 3) You could argue that in order to have put the scriptures together they would have needed to have a proper understanding of them to decide what is true, and use this to defend the Church. 4) Or you could argue why would God allow them to get the scripture right but nothing else?
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 03:58:11 PM »

Quote
Protestant: Yeah, but you see all of the texts that make up the Bible had already been written by 397. Plus, didn't the canon of 397 (or thereabouts) include things like Tobit and Sirach?
Yes, however they were removed because Luther could not find original texts for these books. He wanted to find the hebrew documents for the books in question. He tried to do the same for the NT, like James, hebrews, 3 John but his argument fell apart so he kept them in. however in the Lutheran bible, they're in the back Wink

Quote
If things derailed so quickly before the cannon was set, what is the Protestant response to that given the circumstances? Also, who are the writers/theologians before the Reformation that argued things were going down-hill in regards to all these doctrines creeping in. Basically, I'm asking for a trace back before the Reformation to their side of the argument
As far as sola scriptura, basically, luther said that even though the writiers of the NT, when speaking of scripture were referring to the OT, it can also be used for the NT since both were divinely inspired, even though the NT writers did not know they were writing scripture.

PP
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 04:10:56 PM »

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?

The typical Protestant explanation is that earlier generations of Christians didn't "set" the canon of scripture, but simply managed to "recognize" what was inspired regardless of whether or not those Christians interpreted that scripture correctly or were being obedient to it, at least for the NT.

How were they able to recognize it? Everyone can't just be reading scripture and understanding it because books were highly prized possesions with few people actually owning books and publishing companies not existing until a good time later.

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?

The typical Protestant explanation is that earlier generations of Christians didn't "set" the canon of scripture, but simply managed to "recognize" what was inspired regardless of whether or not those Christians interpreted that scripture correctly or were being obedient to it, at least for the NT.

But what about people before Luther? I'm wanting something earlier. I'm wanting Figures from earlier time periods arguing roughly for the Protestant side of things.

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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 04:27:07 PM »

Quote
But what about people before Luther? I'm wanting something earlier. I'm wanting Figures from earlier time periods arguing roughly for the Protestant side of things.
I think Erasmus was slightly before Luther, he was a contemporary, I know.



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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 04:40:30 PM »

Gnostics were somewhat similar to Protestants in terms of the individuality and hatred for centralized authority and liturgical services. Only, they were more philosophical than most Protestants and I would say that they were like a cross between Christianity and Buddhism.
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 04:52:01 PM »

Awesome post! I am far to ignorant to give the answer your looking for. This is certainly inspiring to learn more on the subject though.  Speaking only for myself, I would agree more or less to what PP mentioned in the first paragraph of reply #1.

It might also be worth mentioning that not all Protestants are what I would call ‘fully’ solo-scriptura. There are many that do not deny, but in fact, look toward the teachings of Church Fathers and doctrine. The following are quotes of Mr. John Wesley who studied Orthodoxy with far more than just a curiosity. He said more on the subject, always with respect and admiration, if not a deeply profound reverence and belief.
 
 “Can anyone who spends several years in those seats of learning, be excused if they do not add to that learning the reading of the Fathers? The Fathers are the most authentic commentators on Scripture, for they were nearest the fountain and were eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given. It will be easily perceived, I speak chiefly of those who wrote before the council of Nicaea.”
 
“The Holy Scripture is the fountain and lively spring, containing in all sufficiency and abundance the pure Water of Life, and whatever is necessary to make God's people wise unto salvation. ...The voice and testimony of the Primitive Church, is a ministerial and subordinate rule and guide, to preserve and direct us in the right understanding of the Scriptures.”
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2012, 04:55:55 PM »

Quote
It might also be worth mentioning that not all Protestants are what I would call ‘fully’ solo-scriptura
To split hairs, no Protestant group is. however, You're correct in what you're saying.

Quote
It might also be worth mentioning that not all Protestants are what I would call ‘fully’ solo-scriptura. There are many that do not deny, but in fact, look toward the teachings of Church Fathers and doctrine. The following are quotes of Mr. John Wesley who studied Orthodoxy with far more than just a curiosity. He said more on the subject, always with respect and admiration, if not a deeply profound reverence and belief
Also true. I believe more than 1 Protestant loved the Apostolic Fathers especially.

Quote
“Can anyone who spends several years in those seats of learning, be excused if they do not add to that learning the reading of the Fathers? The Fathers are the most authentic commentators on Scripture, for they were nearest the fountain and were eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given. It will be easily perceived, I speak chiefly of those who wrote before the council of Nicaea.”
Yeah. Thats a common thought among history buff Protestants even still today.

PP
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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2012, 04:56:03 PM »

The typical Protestant explanation is that earlier generations of Christians didn't "set" the canon of scripture, but simply managed to "recognize" what was inspired regardless of whether or not those Christians interpreted that scripture correctly or were being obedient to it, at least for the NT.
Which can be refuted in one of four ways. 1) You could argue that in order for them to have gotten the scripture right, they would have needed to have been able to get everything else right, and defend the Church. 2) You could argue that the Church did not get the scripture Canon right, but that would also contradict our teachings. 3) You could argue that in order to have put the scriptures together they would have needed to have a proper understanding of them to decide what is true, and use this to defend the Church. 4) Or you could argue why would God allow them to get the scripture right but nothing else?

That's just the explanation, I never said I agree with it.
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2012, 09:16:00 PM »

Quote
It might also be worth mentioning that not all Protestants are what I would call ‘fully’ solo-scriptura
To split hairs, no Protestant group is. however, You're correct in what you're saying.

Have you ever been in the Deep South? "If it ain't in the Good Book it don't mean..."
 Grin Just kidding, no offence to anyone.  

many that do not deny, but in fact, look toward the teachings of Church Fathers and doctrine. The following are quotes of Mr. John Wesley who studied Orthodoxy with far more than just a curiosity. He said more on the subject, always with respect and admiration, if not a deeply profound reverence and belief
Also true. I believe more than 1 Protestant loved the Apostolic Fathers especially.

[/quote]


Certainly. I mention Wesley as the example as he is one of the few I know much about!  Wink
I've read that Martin Luther, as you referenced earlier, never really intended for Oral Tradition to be abandondoned completely, but only sought to reject that which could not be supported or referenced in Scripture. To be fair, with no disrespect to the RCC, all things considered perhaps there was a bit of an understandable knee jerk reaction.

*Excuse the messed up quotation.
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2012, 10:11:37 PM »

Quote
It might also be worth mentioning that not all Protestants are what I would call ‘fully’ solo-scriptura
To split hairs, no Protestant group is. however, You're correct in what you're saying.

Have you ever been in the Deep South? "If it ain't in the Good Book it don't mean..."
 Grin Just kidding, no offence to anyone.  

many that do not deny, but in fact, look toward the teachings of Church Fathers and doctrine. The following are quotes of Mr. John Wesley who studied Orthodoxy with far more than just a curiosity. He said more on the subject, always with respect and admiration, if not a deeply profound reverence and belief
Also true. I believe more than 1 Protestant loved the Apostolic Fathers especially.


Certainly. I mention Wesley as the example as he is one of the few I know much about!  Wink
I've read that Martin Luther, as you referenced earlier, never really intended for Oral Tradition to be abandondoned completely, but only sought to reject that which could not be supported or referenced in Scripture. To be fair, with no disrespect to the RCC, all things considered perhaps there was a bit of an understandable knee jerk reaction.

*Excuse the messed up quotation.

They reject most doctrines that the Church Fathers explained and taugh. That aside-- in regards to Tradition not being intentionally abandoned by Luther, where does that leave Protestants from your perspective?  


Quote
“The Holy Scripture is the fountain and lively spring, containing in all sufficiency and abundance the pure Water of Life, and whatever is necessary to make God's people wise unto salvation. ...The voice and testimony of the Primitive Church, is a ministerial and subordinate rule and guide, to preserve and direct us in the right understanding of the Scriptures.”

If the Church is subordinate to Scripture, what gives the Church the ability to write, define, and cannonize it? Go back to Penetcost or the council held in Jerusalem and tell me what the Church looked like? Is it following the New Testament Scripture (which hasn't been wrote yet) or is it set about in the faith delivered in Tradition? When do Christians start relying on opening their Bibles and preaching like Protestants do now? When does the "Primitive Church" start derailing and things jump to the Reformation?

I'm geninuenly curious about these questions. I haven't ever sat down with a Protestant and asked him how he views the history of the Church and Christianity.

Oh, and I'm from the Deep South and can honestly attest to your characterization! No offense taken, it is correct!  Grin
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2012, 10:55:14 PM »

I wonder if any Baptists or Protestants still read or believe in that Trail of Blood tract. Have any Protestants here heard of it? Apparently it states that the Church was founded by John the Baptist.
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2012, 12:25:50 AM »

What I remember is knowing about the founding of the Church(Sunday School New Testament lessons and Sermons), and martyrs (we had a copy of 'Fox's Book of Martyrs' in the church library), some of the early heresies (when I went through confirmation), that there was a split between east and west, and then that the Roman Catholic church went off the rails and had to be fixed by the Protestant Reformation (also from confirmation and may have been covered in school in History of Western Civ. class).

When I went to college, a Bible College for years three and four, we covered the New Testament so the founding of the Church again but I don't think they added any history towhat I already knew. That was about twenty five years ago.

When I became a Minister some of the courses I took touched on early heresies again, but then jumped more or less straight up to the history of our denomination.

Later in less formal settings with friends or colleagues I heard some about the notion that the church may have gone off the rails with Constantine.

More recently, owing I think to more and better study by Protestant scholars, I've heard that the church started to fall apart sooner. I would say this is because more Protestants are actually starting to read some of the early Fathers and finding out that early Christianity doesn't fit their preconceived notions so it must have been corrupted earlier on. After all Protestants are Protestants and what the Fathers write does sort of resemble what the Roman Catholics have been doing all this time.

For me realizing the failings of Sola Scriptura that so many of the comments in this thread have pointed out was the beginning of my transition to Orthodoxy. As I've said to many people and at least a couple of times in this forum all churches have 'Tradition' only some admit it.

I doubt we'll find any scholars too far before Luther to back up Sola Scriptura. In the west the printing press wasn't invented too much before he was born and without it Sola Scriptura was pretty untenable. Not enough people, in the west anyway, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire could read to make So la Scriptura realistic. Before that time they all had to rely on the Church and her Tradition, not only to understand the scripture but even to hear it, and that's assuming they heard it in a language they could understand. Still if anybody come up with any I too will be interested to hear them.
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2012, 05:10:11 AM »

Oh, and I'm from the Deep South and can honestly attest to your characterization! No offense taken, it is correct!  Grin

A Russian Orthodox Christian in the Deep South? That must be horrible. I live in California which is one of the most diverse, liberal states in the country and is very historically significant in terms of Orthodoxy in America yet I still find it very challenging to be an Orthodox Christian in the environment with ultra Evangelicals and Protestants. I cannot imagine what it must be like in the South.
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2012, 06:54:23 AM »

Most protestants I have talked to just don't seem to care about Church history. Its a non issue to them and this can be just as bad as saying it's useless because they have no incentive to learn of it. Untill they ask themselves the question and seriously think on the matter "What did Christians believe after John and before Luther?" I can only see this attitude continuing.

Till then its the bible, the bible and nothing but the bible, except for some protestant commentary :|
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2012, 08:58:00 AM »

Most protestants I have talked to just don't seem to care about Church history. Its a non issue to them and this can be just as bad as saying it's useless because they have no incentive to learn of it. Untill they ask themselves the question and seriously think on the matter "What did Christians believe after John and before Luther?" I can only see this attitude continuing.

Till then its the bible, the bible and nothing but the bible, except for some protestant commentary :|

I have the same experience. They don't know and couldn't care less. They like believing what they want.
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2012, 04:55:11 PM »

I never understood how some Protestants could disregard history so much and truly not care. When I was a Protestant the thought of being a part of a Church that descended from the Apostles was a fantasy I would dream of, but I was under the delusion that there were none until I studied history and then when I found out that Orthodoxy was, I immediately knew I was going to be converting no matter what they believed. I took every Orthodox doctrine on trust because I believed and still believe that the Church is infallible as a whole.
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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2012, 07:04:27 PM »

What do you call a Protestant who learns Church History?  An Orthodox Catechumen.
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« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2012, 11:21:09 PM »

But doesn't the whole Protestant argument about "sola scriptura" collapse when confronted with the fact that the Canon of Scripture was "closed" (more or less) around AD 397 (or thereabouts) and that that Canon was established by what is now (and was then, too) known as the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church (i.e. what are *now* the Catholic and Orthodox Churches)?

The typical Protestant explanation is that earlier generations of Christians didn't "set" the canon of scripture, but simply managed to "recognize" what was inspired regardless of whether or not those Christians interpreted that scripture correctly or were being obedient to it, at least for the NT.

I've heard similar explanations, that the Bible is self-revealing and the NT would have been recognized regardless of any official recognition.

I've also heard:
"True Christianity ceased after Constantine converted"
"The Baptists were around since the beginning, but they were underground because they were persecuted by the institutional church"
"People didn't have their own copies of the Bible, so they just had to believe whatever the Church told them. Once they get their own Bibles they could read for themselves what it actually said and that the Church had it all wrong and was exploiting the people."
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2012, 12:17:36 AM »

What do you call a Protestant who learns Church History?  An Orthodox Catechumen.
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« Reply #26 on: March 11, 2012, 01:37:30 AM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?

Do you really want a dialogue with Protestants? ISTM the only replies you'll get with such a series of loaded questions as this are from those Orthodox who agree with you. (It also seems to me that those are the only replies you're getting so far, with the exception of alanscott.)
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« Reply #27 on: March 11, 2012, 02:14:34 AM »

What do you call a Protestant who learns Church History?  An Orthodox Catechumen.
Couldn't be any truer.
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« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2012, 09:16:53 AM »

I never understood how some Protestants could disregard history so much and truly not care. When I was a Protestant the thought of being a part of a Church that descended from the Apostles was a fantasy I would dream of, but I was under the delusion that there were none until I studied history and then when I found out that Orthodoxy was, I immediately knew I was going to be converting no matter what they believed. I took every Orthodox doctrine on trust because I believed and still believe that the Church is infallible as a whole.

I don't know if I've ever met a Protestant who doesn't know about the Roman Catholic Church.
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« Reply #29 on: March 11, 2012, 09:17:40 AM »

The American Evangelicals (especially the hyper-dispensationalists) will pretty much have a comparible history until about the beginning of the 2nd century. Then you see inserts about this-or-that apostacy being blamed on Polycarp, the Roman Church, Constantine, etc. Then you get all kinds of theories.

I suppose you're already familiar with the Restorationist theory?
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« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2012, 09:26:23 AM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?

Do you really want a dialogue with Protestants? ISTM the only replies you'll get with such a series of loaded questions as this are from those Orthodox who agree with you. (It also seems to me that those are the only replies you're getting so far, with the exception of alanscott.)

Others might still be thinking about replying.
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« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2012, 09:56:53 AM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?

Do you really want a dialogue with Protestants? ISTM the only replies you'll get with such a series of loaded questions as this are from those Orthodox who agree with you. (It also seems to me that those are the only replies you're getting so far, with the exception of alanscott.)

Yes, Peter, I started this thread in hopes of having more Protestants in the conversation. My intent is not to set up straw men and have Orthodox knock them down. I've asked reasonable questions that have come to mind when I try to look at the prism of history with Protestant glasses. It has crossed my mind to post this on a Protestant forum, but I'm too lazy to register, and to be seen in some way as an Orthodox Alfred. Wink
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« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2012, 11:38:37 AM »

The reason these protestant lineage stories come about is to give credibility to the protestant churches. In other words. If the lineage is correct the church bases there credentials upon it and there very existence. I don't think anyone wants to be exposed as a fake. So the story will always fit existentially.
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2012, 12:06:43 PM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?

Do you really want a dialogue with Protestants? ISTM the only replies you'll get with such a series of loaded questions as this are from those Orthodox who agree with you. (It also seems to me that those are the only replies you're getting so far, with the exception of alanscott.)

Yes, Peter, I started this thread in hopes of having more Protestants in the conversation. My intent is not to set up straw men and have Orthodox knock them down. I've asked reasonable questions that have come to mind when I try to look at the prism of history with Protestant glasses. It has crossed my mind to post this on a Protestant forum, but I'm too lazy to register, and to be seen in some way as an Orthodox Alfred. Wink

I think the only things fundamentally wrong with your questions is that "Protestant" is a fishnet term, lumping together Lutherans (and sometimes Anglicans), Methodists, Calvinists, Zwinglians, Pentecostals, and others.
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« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2012, 12:08:47 PM »

What do you call a Protestant who learns Church History?  An Orthodox Catechumen.

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« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2012, 01:29:02 PM »

What you have to realize is that Church history doesn't matter. The Apostles and Luke and Mark were only inspired while writing the books of the NT, but completely fallible at all other times, thus negating oral tradition. The Church recognized the Bible, but like the Apostles was only inspired while recognizing the Bible, despite being in serious error at the time of recognition (the error fully displayed by having all sorts of books in the Catholic Bible that aren't really in the Bible). Paul mentioned that there was error in the Church even in his day, setting up for the great apostasy of Catholicism right after John died, when true Christians went underground and had nothing to do with the so-called Catholics' error and ended up getting labeled as heretics for not listening to Rome, which truly was the leader of the entire Catholic church until those Greeks got all uppity in the 11th century. Good ole' fashioned Evangelicals existed in tandem the whole time, and eventually emerged after Luther and Calvin made Europe safe for different viewpoints, as Anabaptists. That's why most Evangelicals aren't really Protestants, unless they happen to be Lutherans or Presbyterians, because they were never part of the Catholic church to begin with.

You can't trust pre-Reformation Church history 'cause it was all written by Catholics.
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« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2012, 02:28:26 PM »

To be fair, I did respond to the first part of the OP with what my experience with church history as a Protestant was, and that experience isn't that far gone, I only gave up my ministerial credential in January.

Regarding what FormerReformer wrote ^ that's basically the way I heard it except add that things didn't stop at Luther because I came from a Charismatic background so those hidden Christians were Charismatic and we didn't really get back to the true Church til about 100 years ago. Also without the reference to the Greeks.
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« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2012, 02:36:12 PM »

Regarding what FormerReformer wrote ^ that's basically the way I heard it.... without the reference to the Greeks.

Heh, I've got to hand it to Pensacola Christian College's Abeka curriculum for k-12- they were hands down better than anything in the public schools (except in the sciences) and were extremely comprehensive in their high school world history course- thorough to the point that where they were wrong, they were thoroughly wrong.
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« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2012, 02:46:54 PM »

What you have to realize is that Church history doesn't matter. The Apostles and Luke and Mark were only inspired while writing the books of the NT, but completely fallible at all other times, thus negating oral tradition. The Church recognized the Bible, but like the Apostles was only inspired while recognizing the Bible, despite being in serious error at the time of recognition (the error fully displayed by having all sorts of books in the Catholic Bible that aren't really in the Bible). Paul mentioned that there was error in the Church even in his day, setting up for the great apostasy of Catholicism right after John died, when true Christians went underground and had nothing to do with the so-called Catholics' error and ended up getting labeled as heretics for not listening to Rome, which truly was the leader of the entire Catholic church until those Greeks got all uppity in the 11th century. Good ole' fashioned Evangelicals existed in tandem the whole time, and eventually emerged after Luther and Calvin made Europe safe for different viewpoints, as Anabaptists. That's why most Evangelicals aren't really Protestants, unless they happen to be Lutherans or Presbyterians, because they were never part of the Catholic church to begin with.

You can't trust pre-Reformation Church history 'cause it was all written by Catholics.

I can't remember how many times I heard that true Christians were persecuted by the Roman Church and thus went under ground until it was safe to come out, i.e. the Protestant Reformation. To give creedence to this theory I was also told to remember that Christians were labeled as secrective and accused of being a cannablistic cult since they always met in catacombs.
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« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2012, 02:51:13 PM »

What you have to realize is that Church history doesn't matter. The Apostles and Luke and Mark were only inspired while writing the books of the NT, but completely fallible at all other times, thus negating oral tradition. The Church recognized the Bible, but like the Apostles was only inspired while recognizing the Bible, despite being in serious error at the time of recognition (the error fully displayed by having all sorts of books in the Catholic Bible that aren't really in the Bible). Paul mentioned that there was error in the Church even in his day, setting up for the great apostasy of Catholicism right after John died, when true Christians went underground and had nothing to do with the so-called Catholics' error and ended up getting labeled as heretics for not listening to Rome, which truly was the leader of the entire Catholic church until those Greeks got all uppity in the 11th century. Good ole' fashioned Evangelicals existed in tandem the whole time, and eventually emerged after Luther and Calvin made Europe safe for different viewpoints, as Anabaptists. That's why most Evangelicals aren't really Protestants, unless they happen to be Lutherans or Presbyterians, because they were never part of the Catholic church to begin with.

You can't trust pre-Reformation Church history 'cause it was all written by Catholics.

I can't remember how many times I heard that true Christians were persecuted by the Roman Church and thus went under ground until it was safe to come out, i.e. the Protestant Reformation. To give creedence to this theory I was also told to remember that Christians were labeled as secrective and accused of being a cannablistic cult since they always met in catacombs.

That one was always funny to me- the "true Christians" met in catacombs, away from the eyes of the established Church, where they didn't do anything remotely Catholic- you know, like celebrate the Eucharist every time they met, or draw icons, or... oh dear.
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« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2012, 08:11:16 PM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?

Do you really want a dialogue with Protestants? ISTM the only replies you'll get with such a series of loaded questions as this are from those Orthodox who agree with you. (It also seems to me that those are the only replies you're getting so far, with the exception of alanscott.)

Yes, Peter, I started this thread in hopes of having more Protestants in the conversation. My intent is not to set up straw men and have Orthodox knock them down.
Unfortunately, it seems that that's about the only thing going on on this thread. I'm seeing a lot of Orthodox comment on how they perceive Protestantism--as a former Protestant myself, I can agree that many of the perceptions are pretty accurate--but I'm not seeing but maybe one or two Protestants actually tell us how they view themselves. If the latter is what you really wanted, I think the way you crafted your questions invited only the former.
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« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2012, 08:29:54 PM »

What is the Protestant view of the history of Christianity and of the Church?

I grew up knowing about the Apostles and their taking the ministry to other nations, vaguely do I remember hearing about persecutions, the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of Rome, almost nothing of the various historical events that happened in the first 1000 years, little of the schism, and then my history picks back up with the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church and the ushering in of the Protestant Reformation. That is a big 1500 year gap in history. I never thought much of how the Bible came to be what it is today for Protestants. I assumed the Apostles had written the New Testament scripture and in their lifetime the cannonical acceptance of the books had been developed. Only later did I find out that it took to the 5th century for the present list to be cannonical.

What does that mean to you regarding sola-scriputra? What did Christians rely on before that time? And given the fact that Gutenburg did not invent his printing press until the 14th century; what means did Christians have to rely on sola-scriptura to guide them in understanding Scripture? Are there any writings before the Protestant Reformation arguing for the Bible alone and the disregard for the established Tradition? How far do these writings go? I guess what I'm asking is, what contemporaries of St. John Chrysostom or St. Basil the Great or St. John Damascene can you point to that give you an understanding of Christians living out the Christian faith as you do?

Do you really want a dialogue with Protestants? ISTM the only replies you'll get with such a series of loaded questions as this are from those Orthodox who agree with you. (It also seems to me that those are the only replies you're getting so far, with the exception of alanscott.)

Yes, Peter, I started this thread in hopes of having more Protestants in the conversation. My intent is not to set up straw men and have Orthodox knock them down.
Unfortunately, it seems that that's about the only thing going on on this thread. I'm seeing a lot of Orthodox comment on how they perceive Protestantism--as a former Protestant myself, I can agree that many of the perceptions are pretty accurate--but I'm not seeing but maybe one or two Protestants actually tell us how they view themselves. If the latter is what you really wanted, I think the way you crafted your questions invited only the former.

Your opinion is duly noted. My questions were honest and not intended to have the effect you've recognized. I'll craft better questions that are more sensitive to Protestants next time. Thank you. I would like this thread to be open in the hopes of having a Protestant response though.
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« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2012, 08:51:42 PM »

Regarding what FormerReformer wrote ^ that's basically the way I heard it except add that things didn't stop at Luther because I came from a Charismatic background so those hidden Christians were Charismatic and we didn't really get back to the true Church til about 100 years ago. Also without the reference to the Greeks.

That's also a good explanation, but personally I'm kind of partial to the one I linked to

I suppose you're already familiar with the Restorationist theory?
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Maximum Bob
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Personal Text? We can have personal text?


« Reply #43 on: March 11, 2012, 10:19:34 PM »

Regarding what FormerReformer wrote ^ that's basically the way I heard it except add that things didn't stop at Luther because I came from a Charismatic background so those hidden Christians were Charismatic and we didn't really get back to the true Church til about 100 years ago. Also without the reference to the Greeks.

That's also a good explanation, but personally I'm kind of partial to the one I linked to

I suppose you're already familiar with the Restorationist theory?
No slight intended, the vid. is very good indeed.  Grin
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FormerReformer
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« Reply #44 on: March 11, 2012, 10:31:27 PM »

Regarding what FormerReformer wrote ^ that's basically the way I heard it except add that things didn't stop at Luther because I came from a Charismatic background so those hidden Christians were Charismatic and we didn't really get back to the true Church til about 100 years ago. Also without the reference to the Greeks.

That's also a good explanation, but personally I'm kind of partial to the one I linked to

I suppose you're already familiar with the Restorationist theory?
No slight intended, the vid. is very good indeed.  Grin

Well, as regards the vid (which, Maximum Bob's addendum to my post regarding Charismatics is basically a simplified version of Restorationist theory), Restorationists make a certain type of unarguable sense- Landmarkists can be proven wrong just by glancing at the surviving writings of those they point to as being the "underground Church" independent of the "Catholic" writers aspersions, but you can't use history to argue against "the Church just kind of disappeared after John until the 19th Century when the truth of Evangelicalism was re-revealed". I mean, you can, but it will be about as useful as pointing out the Beatles and David Bowie to someone who believes rock'n roll ceased to exist from the death of Buddy Holly until the Ramones came along.
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